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Orioles Lose To Indians By Two Touchdowns

Indians 14, Orioles 0

By Tim Warsinskey
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, June 15, 2004; Page D01

CLEVELAND, June 14 -- Monday was supposed to be an off day for the Baltimore Orioles. The schedule makers intended it to be used for a long, leisurely flight to Los Angeles before the team began a series against the Dodgers on Tuesday.

Instead, the Orioles stopped in Cleveland to play an afternoon makeup game, and left for Los Angeles reeling from a 14-0 loss to the Indians.

Orioles' Javy Lopez drops ball as Indians' Jody Gerut scores on double by Tim Laker in third inning. "We obviously have to pitch better and have to hit better," Orioles' Rafael Palmeiro said. (Ron Kuntz -- Reuters)

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With a pitching staff still feeling the effects of a marathon weekend series against San Francisco, Baltimore desperately needed left-hander Eric DuBose to deliver something approaching a quality start.

Desperation turned into disaster. DuBose failed to finish the third inning, despite Manager Lee Mazzilli leaving him in long enough for the Indians to score seven runs in the third, all with two outs.

Mazzilli, who partially blamed the delay on a faulty dugout-to-bullpen phone, finally turned to his tired bullpen. He sent in Rick Bauer, who got the last out of the third, but yielded six runs in the fifth.

The Orioles have lost six of their past nine games. Opponents have averaged 7.1 runs in the past 20 games. The Indians had 15 hits, including eight doubles, and drew nine walks. Every starter scored at least once as Cleveland scored its most runs in nearly three years.

Baltimore was quiet by comparison against right-hander Jake Westbrook (6-2, 2.70 ERA). He threw a four-hitter, struck out four and walked two.

"It seems like, all of a sudden, both sides fell apart at the same time," Mazzilli said of Baltimore's pitching and hitting.

Mazzilli reportedly tore into his team Sunday after a listless loss to San Francisco, but he said he left the players to their own thoughts in a quiet clubhouse Monday.

"What am I going to say?" he asked.

Mazzilli was searching for answers. He talked about a "meeting of the minds" and "two heads are better than one" when asked what is to be done with DuBose and the pitching staff.

Later, Mazzilli reverted to a tired baseball axiom. "They've got to keep playing hard and bust their tails," he said.

There were no better answers in the clubhouse.

"It's hard to pinpoint what it is you have to do other than to come back tomorrow, play hard and strap it on," Rafael Palmeiro said. "We obviously have to pitch better and have to hit better, we all know that."

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